Friday, May 22, 2009

Bloggin' Be My Life

The Eastpointer

Me and Dick Cheney

By Richard E. Noble

Dick Cheney appeared at a press conference a while back and he made a statement that stuck in my mind. One of the reporters made reference to his accumulated wealth and an implied lack of gratitude on his part. His response was that whatever he had, he had gotten on his own and certainly with no help from "the government." He was a self-made man was the implication that I understood.
Many people in the audience applauded his statement. Of course, in Mr. Cheney’s case, I felt it was rather an obnoxious statement. Here was a man who worked for the government most of his career and when he wasn't, he was working for corporations who were tied to the government from their navel to their butt hole. If there was anybody who made their fortune off this government and not despite this government, it was him.
I felt that if Mr. Cheney wanted to meet a real self-made man he should meet me.
I realize that I may not be all that great of a self-made man in terms of total wealth - or any wealth for that matter - but certainly everything that I accumulated was without the help of the "government."
I started working when I was eight or nine years old and nobody gave me anything.
I collected returnable bottles from the neighborhood. I shoveled show every winter and I set up duck pins at a local bowling alley - all before I was ten years old. That was pretty independent wasn't it?
But how independent is "independent"? I mean, if I had no neighbors, I couldn't have collected pop bottles or shoveled out peoples' driveways in the winter when it snowed. If there was no English Social Club with six or eight duck pin bowling alleys, I couldn't have made any money setting up pins. If there were no glassy-eyed semi-intoxicated patrons who wanted to bowl, even the presence of the alleys wouldn't have done me much good.
When I was eleven I got a paper route. More of the above applies to that job.
Then I went to work at the grocery store - more dependence on neighbors and shoppers and the A&P.
On top of all of that, before I could make any money at any of the above, I had to know how to count. When I was just five years old my mother carted me down to the corner school. There were a bunch of "volunteers" there who us kid mocked and ridiculed. They made me learn what I needed. And believe me they had to force it into me because from a very early age, I felt that I already knew more than I needed to know. Me and Henry Ford had a similar attitude when it came to book learning - who needs it!
Now these volunteers weren't really trying to help me - they were under the assumption that they were employed by God. And all the neighbors and the customers and patrons and the businesses and employers, they weren't trying to help me either. They needed somebody, and I just happened to be standing there.
But as independent and self-made as I think myself to be, I have never had any job or made a penny that was without the participation of others in my society - not one penny. And neither has Dick Cheney. Neither of us were a Denial Boone or Davy Crocket. We didn't survive in a wilderness nor did we make our way in a void.
I don't care what terms you use but we have all gotten what little we have because there were others around us who needed our efforts. No, this doesn't actually constitute love, but it does dispel independence to a degree.
Me and Dick Cheney are about as self-made as R2D2. If the inadequate system that surrounds us shuts down - we shut down. Try living with no electric and no water. Most of us can't even get by without a TV. Sometimes it is not such a great feeling to realize that we need others in order to survive, but it is a fact of life. We don't have to like this fact, but to deny it is to live in a delusion.
But Dick Cheney and me are not the only humans who are living in a delusion of independence.

Richard E. Noble has now published 6 books. They are available on Click on links on right, top on this blog. Richard is a freelance writer who has been living in Eastpoint for over thirty years. If you would like to stock his books in your store or business e-mail me at